Mortensen Hatchery – Two Hatcheries for the Price of One

The other night I gave a talk on how Petaluma’s agricultural heritage is reflected in its architecture. While discussing hatcheries several audience members were reminded of the Mortensen Hatchery which they thought was on Baker Street, but weren’t quite sure.

Jan Rodd, who brought up the subject, went home and looked at a city directory for 1963 and found a listing for Mortensen Hatchery at 620 Baker Street.  

I followed up on this information and what should have been a simple research project became something else altogether.

Mortensen Hatchery was indeed on Baker Street, but its address was not always 620. Different sources give the address as 632 and 634 Baker Street. It also appears to have backed up to and been attached to the White Hatchery which was addressed as 219 Bodega Avenue.

The White Hatchery was established around 1910 by Jay L. White, the son of a Michigan farmer, and had a hatching capacity of 35,000 eggs  according to Thea Lowry in her book Empty Shells: The Story of Petaluma, America’s Chicken City

The White Hatchery. SCL Photo No 15209

The Mortensen Hatchery appears to have been founded by Weaver J. Mortensen, a native of Nebraska, in 1944. Mr. Mortensen was no stranger to the poultry business having worked the previous 20 years or so for the Bonded Chick Hatcheries as well as the Pioneer and White Hatcheries.

I have yet to figure out if the White Hatchery and Mortensen Hatchery ever operated as one hatchery, but what I have discovered is that both buildings were torn down in 1993.

Today two homes occupy the former Mortensen Hatchery site.

The site of White Hatchery has been incorporated into the back yards for the two homes on Baker Street.

About Katherine J. Rinehart

Katherine J. Rinehart received a MA in History from Sonoma State University in 1994. For the past 19 years, Ms. Rinehart has worked in various positions within the fields of Cultural Resource Management and Historic Preservation and is currently employed by the Sonoma County Library where she has worked in the Sonoma County History and Genealogy Department since 2002. Katherine is the author of Petaluma: A History in Architecture, a contributor to Celebrating Petaluma published by the Petaluma Sesquicentennial Committee and the Petaluma Visitors Program. Ms. Rinehart is an occasional contributor to the Press Democrat and is proud to be a Petaluma Good Egg.
This entry was posted in Agriculture, Architecture, Eggs and Poultry, Historic Buildings, Petaluma, Photos. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Mortensen Hatchery – Two Hatcheries for the Price of One

  1. Greg White says:

    Hi Katherine,

    I can send you some better pictures of “grandfathers” hatchery…


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